GenX Moms: One Foot in the Past and One in the Future

by | Apr 11, 2023 | Parenting Style | 2 comments

Hey there fellow Gen X moms!

You know what’s wild?

The fact that we’re raising Gen Z kids.

It’s like being stuck in a time warp.

We’re still trying to figure out why the hell we ever thought belly button rings were a good idea, and now we have to deal with TikTok dances and Snapchat filters. 

Like, have you seen the stuff they’re into? It’s like a whole different language.

We often get roasted by younger generations for being total dorks.  They don’t realize that we got to experience the golden age of being a teenager. 

Let’s start with the music. We had Nirvana, Guns and Roses, and Tupac. Queen, Prince, Madonna. Run DMC, Salt-N-Pepa.Need I say more? And is it just me or do I keep hearing eighties music being used on TikTok and in TV series? “Running op that hill” , “Never gonna give you up”, “Time after Time”; excuse me GenZ, those are all ours.

And let’s not forget about our fashion sense. We rocked some seriously iconic looks that are still influencing fashion today. The big hair, the shoulder pads, the neon, the  powersuits; we were bold and daring. 

And what about our social lives? We didn’t have to worry about cyberbullying or Instagram likes. We had actual face-to-face conversations with our friends and we actually went outside to do things. We didn’t need to document everything we did on social media for validation.

We may not be the most “woke” generation, but we know how to drop an f-bomb when we need to. And we’re not afraid to call out BS when we see it.

Raised by Baby Boomers

We we raised by Baby Boomers, who did things a little differently than we do.

Like the way they thought it was perfectly acceptable to hit us with a wooden spoon if we talked back. Or the way they made us eat canned vegetables and called it “health food”. 

They were a little uptight, a little conservative, and a whole lot of preachy.

There were no conversations about sex, let alone masturbation. We had to figure these things out by ourselves. Or from friends, who also didn’t really have a clue.

And let’s talk for a moment about baby boomer parents and emotions. I mean, let’s face it, they just didn’t know how to handle that shit. Like, if you showed any sort of emotion other than happiness, they’d look at you like you had three heads.

They’d tell you to “suck it up, buttercup” or “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”

And don’t even get me started on therapy. They thought therapy was for crazy people.

Many of us grew up feeling like we had to be self-reliant and fend for ourselves, but it also fostered a sense of resilience and resourcefulness that has served us well in life.

So here we are; Gen Xers raising Gen Z teens.

We consider ourselves to be pretty cool and parents who are ‘down with everything’. We want to be different than our emotionally unavailable, absent parent.  We recognize the importance of emotional support and we are more present in our children’s lives. 

But let’s be real, the generational gap goes both ways. And it’s a weird dynamic, right?

We’re in this weird middle ground

We’re in this weird middle ground where we’re not quite Boomers and we’re not quite Millennials. We’ve got one foot in the past and one foot in the present, and that can be hard to navigate.

Even though we think we’re easygoing and non-judgemental, we grew up with different values and cultural norms than our kids, and sometimes it feels like we’re speaking different languages.

Let’s explore some examples.

We were raised on sitcoms like “The Cosby Show” and “Family Ties”, where everything was wrapped up nicely in 30 minutes or less. Our kids are watching shows like “Euphoria” and “13 Reasons Why”, with pretty intense topics. We want them to explore and understand complex issues like mental health, addiction, and trauma – topics that were stigmatized and ignored when we were growing up. But we don’t always know how to talk to our kids about the issues they’re seeing on these shows, and we don’t always know how to help them process what they’re watching. 

Many of us were raised by Baby Boomers who valued hard work and dedication to one’s job. This often meant sacrificing personal time in favor of climbing the corporate ladder. However, Millennials and Gen Zers tend to prioritize work-life balance. And their mental health over their job. We Gen Xers ridicule them sometimes when they take a ‘mental health day’, calling them out for being soft and lazy while patting ourselves on the back because we ‘powered through it without complaining’. But let’s be honest, most of us GenXers have had some sort of break-down at some point. Gen X invented the word ‘burn-out’. You have to admit, that’s a bit ironic.

And let’s not forget how we view things like gender roles and sexuality. We Gen Xers like to think of ourselves as being pretty open-minded, especially when it comes to LGBTQ rights. We were the generation that fought for gay marriage and worked to break down those old barriers. But when it comes to gender roles and sexuality, things get a little more complicated. We were raised in a world where traditional gender roles were still very much the norm. We tend to see things in terms of binary categories: male/female, gay/straight, and so on.  The younger generations are far more accepting of gender fluidity and the idea that gender isn’t necessarily binary. They’re also more likely to be open to exploring their own sexuality and figuring out what feels right for them. We GenXers struggle to break free from old notions and it can be painful when we’re confronted by our teens, with our old stereotypes.

We’re raising our kids in a world that is vastly different than the one we grew up in.

Technology has advanced at warp speed, and it can be hard to keep up. We’re trying to monitor our kids’ social media use and protect them from online predators, all while dealing with our own addiction to screens and social media.

Embrace imperfect parenting

Being a Gen X mom raising a Gen Z teenager is not always easy. The generational gap is real.

We’re dealing with mental health issues and social media drama that our parents never even imagined. We’re trying to be cool moms without being too embarrassing. And we’re doing it all while trying to keep our sanity intact.

And perhaps the biggest issue we face as Gen X parents is the pressure to be perfect.

We’re bombarded with images of perfect parents on social media and in the media, and it can be hard to measure up. We’re constantly second-guessing ourselves and wondering if we’re doing it right. And when we inevitably make mistakes, we beat ourselves up for not being good enough.

But here’s the thing: we don’t have to be perfect. We just have to love our kids unconditionally, and support them as they navigate this crazy world.

We’ve got our own set of issues, but let’s cut ourselves some slack.

Let’s embrace our imperfections and show our kids that it’s okay to make mistakes.

Let’s be there for them when they need us, and let’s be kind to ourselves in the process.

And in the meantime,  let’s pour ourselves a stiff drink and crank up some Nirvana when the going gets tough. Because we’ve earned it.

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  1. Rosako

    Ik herken alles wat je hebt geschreven. Het werkelijk zo! Dank je voor deze bevestiging.

    • Marielle

      Hi Rochelle. Dank je wel voor je comment. Ook zo fijn voor mij om te horen dat je het ook zo beleeft. Ik vind deze topic – verschillen tussen generaties- zo fascinerend! Ben al bezig met een nieuwe blog waarin ik verder inga op hoe de manier waarop je zelf bent opgevoed invloed heeft op je je eigen kind opvoedt. Let’s continue the conversation!


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Hey there, I´m Marielle

As a parenting coach and life coach for teen girls, I have seen firsthand the impact that a strong mother-daughter bond can have. In my blog, I share my insights, experiences, and tips to help mothers create deeper connections with their daughters, navigate the difficult moments, and feel more confident in their parenting journey.

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